Tait signs WHL Player Agreement with Blazers

Ashton Tait signs his WHL Standard Player Agreement with the Kamloops Blazers. –Photo from Kamloops Blazers

Prince Albert’s Ashton Tait is excited to head out west to continue his hockey career.

The Prince Albert Mintos centreman was selected 26th overall by the Kamloops Blazers in the WHL Prospects Draft. Last week, he signed his WHL Standard Player Agreement.

“I was really excited,” Tait said after signing the contract. “It’s a big honour. I can’t wait to get started and just start working.”

Tait leads the Mintos in rookie scoring with 32 points in 25 games. The Blazers picked him just four picks before the hometown Raiders were up in the second round.

While Tait knew that very well could’ve been the case, he wasn’t too sure where he was going to be picked in the second round.

“I thought I would get picked somewhere in this range but I didn’t know for sure,” he said. “A lot of teams were talking to me.”

The 15 year old explained what he has to do in order to have a shot at cracking the roster in training camp next season.

“I just have to get bigger and stronger and show them that I can fit in at the WHL level,” he said. “I think my hockey IQ and my puck skills will be able to fit in at that level, but just getting stronger definitely will be big.”

Twenty-two games into the season, Tait has shown he can perform at a high level in the U18 AAA league. With some of the best hands in the league and a laser shot, he said he focused on some weaker parts of his game to become better in all areas of his game.

“I’ve mainly been working on my stride,” he said. “Just smoothing it out and lengthening it so I can be quicker in and out of corners, that type of stuff.”

With the hockey IQ and puck control that he possesses already, Tait says those two traits are what he is most proud of, and he can offer that at any level of play.

“I can see the ice pretty well and find open teammates. I think those are my strong suits that I can bring to the WHL with me.

“I think it’s been a really good year for me. I’ve shown that I can score (with) the puck. Our team’s been playing good, so that always helps too, when you have team success.”

Blazers director of personnel Robbie Sandland also commented on the signing, crediting Tait for the skills he will bring to Kamloops.

“Ashton has really good skill and hockey sense, combined with his competitiveness and a desire to make an impact every game he plays,” Sandland said. “He will fit in really well with our group in Kamloops. He has shown the ability to consistently produce offensively and make others around him better.”

Tait’s Mintos ended the first half of the season with a 9-2 win over the Yorkton Maulers on Sunday.